SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A Cameron Park man pleaded not guilty to two counts of receipt of child pornography at an arraignment in federal court Tuesday.
Frederick Simonelli, 69, is charged in a March 26 federal grand jury indictment unsealed Monday. According to court documents, an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) found Simonelli allegedly received child pornography through the Internet on at least two occasions in January 2012.
"Each time an image of child pornography is viewed, that child is victimized again," said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for HSI Sacramento. "HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who harm children in this way – no matter their wealth, status or education – receive the justice they deserve."
Simonelli was released on $25,000 bond on the condition he not have any contact with minors. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 19.
If convicted of receipt of child pornography, Simonelli faces a maximum statutory penalty not less than five years and up to 40 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation was conducted under HSI's Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.